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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

451 Spirits Bone Shaker Whiskey Review

Welcome to the 3rd spirit I'm reviewing that originates from the great state of Ohio. I started with Cleveland Black Reserve Bourbon (57/100) and followed that with Middle West Spirits Straight Rye, which fared slightly better (64/100). Neither of those two are my favorites so I'm hopeful that the bottle of 451 Spirits Bone Shaker Whiskey I received as a gift could finally be the Ohio spirit we need.

Bone Shaker is unique in that 451 Spirits allows the mash to ferment for a week or more. It is then double distilled in a traditional style pot still. From their site:
After distillation the whiskey begins the maturation process, first, in small 23 gallon barrels. After a few months a portion of this whiskey is transferred to larger 53 gallon barrels. The small barrels are then topped off with new make whiskey and the process begins again.
The whiskies are 100% pure pot still which allows for some deeper heavier flavors while sacrificing efficiency and they are kind of a cross between American and Scotch style whiskies.

With that said, let's see if their techniques will make this a bourbon to seek out. As always, I'll get started with the specifications.

Manufacturer: 451 Spirits

Age: Minimum of 6 months (current batch is in the 1-2 year range)

Location Produced: 451 Spirits LLC - Columbus, OH

Mash Bill: 
16% malted barley, 32% unmalted barley, 4% each of roasted and chocolate barley like you would use in a stout beer, 16% oats and 28% rye

Aroma (from manufacturer): N/A

Taste (from manufacturer)N/A

Finish (from manufacturer): N/A

Alcohol: 45%

Who is this for?: People who loved this show... but mostly for people looking for a unique whiskey that is unlike any other

Cost (Ohio): $39.99 + tax.

Let's start the review. 

Taste - Score 20 out of 35

On the nose, I picked up hints of apple. The Duchess also picked up hints of apple, but nothing discerning. Ashwin picked up something synthetic but couldn't put his finger on what. This is one where we all greatly differed. I picked up a very unique fruity smell but the other reviewers didn't.

On the taste, we picked up some notes of oak and banana. For Ashwin, this came across hot and that it tasted closer to a 100 proof than the 90, however, he found it "surprisingly enjoyable as a sipper or a mixer for a whiskey forward cocktail." The Duchess found it think on the mouth and bitter. For me, the flavor profile came across closer to a rum than a traditional whiskey. Give 451 Spirits credit for creating a very unique flavored whiskey, but for me, it wasn't in my preferred taste profile.

Smoothness/Finish - Score 15 out of 25

The finish was short and sweet. It really cemented that taste similar to rum.

Intangibles: Color/Appearance - Score 12 out of 15

Bone shaker comes it a nice tall bottle with a skeleton riding a bike with a real cork. The labels are made of a textured paper that feels nice on the touch. The color is a shade lighter than most bourbons due to less time in the barrel. I like the look and the color is where it should be. 

Availability - Score 2 out of 5

Bone Shaker isn't available at some of the smaller liquor stores. I see it consistently at Giant Eagle in Grandview Heights, but it wasn't available at the Kroger or Giant Eagle in Powell. 

Overall Value - Score 15 out of 20

This whiskey was really surprising. We didn't know what to expect coming in and it produced a taste unlike any whiskey we've tasted. There are definitely some rough edges but with age it could be more refined. We could taste the pot still influence but for me, the profile was too close to a rum... but for $39.99, I recommend giving this one a try and seeing if this is a profile up your ally. After trying this, I'm excited for their Dear Johnny product, which is a smoked apple flavored whiskey as I think that could be closer to my jam. 

Final Score: 64 out of 100 - Some uniqueness and could be good in the right situation

Note: This review was done by Mark with help Ashwin and the Duchess. The bottle was give to me as a gift by my wonderful friends Chris and Kami.

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